Saturday, March 5, 2011

World Book Night.


Do you love a book so much  
you want everyone to read it?

PrintWorld Book Night represents the most ambitious and far-reaching celebration of adult books and reading ever attempted in the UK and Ireland.

On Saturday 5 March 2011, two days after World Book Day, with the full support of the Publishers Association, the Booksellers Association, the Independent Publishers Guild, the Reading Agency with libraries, World Book Day, the BBC and RTE, one million books will be given away by an army of passionate readers to members of the public across the UK and Ireland.

The book give-away will comprise 40,000 copies of each of the 25 carefully selected titles, to be given away by 20,000 ‘givers’, who will each distribute 48 copies of their chosen title to whomever they choose on World Book Night. The remaining books will be distributed by World Book Night itself in places that might otherwise be difficult to reach, such as prisons and hospitals.

As one of the volunteers, my collection of books arrived earlier this week at one of my local libraries(Ramsgate), one of the librarians helped me with the two boxes.IMAG0070

Today is the official world Book Day, and although in reality it’s the UK & Ireland, it’s still a great idea, to introduce loads of people you’ve never met before to the joys of a book. Most of the people reading this blog on a regular basis, are fellow book bloggers and we are constantly suggesting books to one another, but at the end of the day, aren’t we talking to the converted, individuals that may not have read the book you’re posting about, but are avid readers, bookfiends, and so already half convinced by what you’re suggesting. This was about giving, or attempting to give, books to people whose inclination, taste or even if they read or not you’ve no idea about, you spoke to them face to face and explained why they should read a particular book, why you were doing this.


We, this being my daughter (you’ll meet her soon) and myself, arrived at my chosen destination,  Westwood Cross (Shopping Centre) at 11am, armed with our boxes of books – 48 copies of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I had previously phoned to check if it was ok for us to be there, and a big thanks to the Westwood Cross management who welcomed me and were happy to let me have the run of the centre. On arriving I went to the management suite and met Laura, who sorted me out with a pass and was my first recipient of a book.IMAG0072





We set up our stall and started convincing people that we weren’t there to take their money and that the books were free. My daughter was a great help in my mission to spread the word


We spoke to a lot of individuals, not all had heard of the event, not all were  interested, but a large amount were, some who took a book, some who were just interested in what we were doing and whyIMAG0074. Although enough took a book that in around an hour we, between us, gave away our boxes of books.


The end result was that 48 people went away with a brand new - specially printed for World Book Night - book by an author, the majority had never heard of him, they went with my message, “To enjoy this book, but if it’s not to their taste to pass it on to someone else, that there was no catch beyond the hope that they would be enthralled, and would want to read more”. 48 people left with a smile on their face and a joy they weren’t expecting, make that 50, as my daughter and I both left with a smile, with a joy born of the fact that we were the givers of a small world, that because of that act someone may explore more.

IMAG0077             going, going, gone.IMAG0076





My one proviso, is that although this is World Book Night, it’s really only UK & Ireland, whether this will grow and really become a world book night I don’t know, but I qualify my doubt by saying if I convinced a couple of people to read something they wouldn’t normally read, that’s a result.

“We come into the world intent on finding narrative in everything, in the landscape, in the skies, in the faces of others, and, of course, in the images and words that our species create”. This most human of creative activities defines us, that at the core we are “Reading Animals” intent on reading our own lives and those of others”. Alberto Manguel  – A Reader on Reading.



Unknown said...

Cloud Atlas is one of my favourite books and so it is lovely to see it reaching a wider audience. I gave away A Fine Balance and no one had heard of it. It is strange that so few of the public have heard about these two wonderful books. Let's hope they enjoy them.

@parridhlantern said...

@farmlanebooks: Hi Jackie, I think of the 48 books I handed out two and a half had heard of the author/book. But it was great, that after overcoming the initial suspicion (what it's free?) they flew out of the boxes.Loved the idea that there are 48 homes with these books now that wouldn't have had them

gina said...

It would be amazing to see this actually become a worldwide event like you said!

Elizabeth said...

Oh...I missed WORLD BOOK NIGHT. :(

Stopping by from the post in Book Blogs by Bobbie Crawford.

Stop by my blog for a book giveaway.

Book Giveaway for: LITTLE PRINCES.

@parridhlantern said...

Hi gina, I believe that at some point they will take this global, hopefully it will be an annual celebration as well, as ios the plan, just have to retain the momentum.

Hello Elizabeth, I wouldn't worry to much, as at the moment it was merely a UK & Ireland celebration.

Bellezza said...

Hmmm, thought I'd left a comment here. Apparently not. Wanted to say, "These posts are almost enough to make me wish I was British instead of Italian!" :)

You have such lovely stores and publishers (Persephone, for example) and events such as these. Wistful sigh...from the middle of the United States.

Patrick (at The Literate Man) said...

What a fantastic event. And what a great experience for your daughter. If you have any information on how we in the States can help make this a worldwide event, I'd be very interested. Keep up the great work!

@parridhlantern said...

Hi Bellezza, the comment I think you tried to leave came via my E-mail, so thank you for your words. As for being here, yes we have fantastic stores & publishers, but then so do you, at least half the publishers i follow on twitter are from your way.

Hi Patrick, yes both of us left heads held high, and sparking with joy. I think the idea at some point is for this to go global, your best point of contact for info, or about involvement is to check out the site
would be fantastic if it did manage it.

Tom Cunliffe said...

Well done Parrish. You really took that seriously didn't you, and it was great to involve your daughter too.

I have A Reader on Reading too - its a great source of quotes

@parridhlantern said...

@Tom Cunliffe: Yeah, even had it planned & organised with the centres staff the day before (went armed with toffee cookies) & tweeted the whole shennanigans. As for my daughters involvement, she's becoming as avid a reader as myself, so anything to encourage that. But at the end of the give away we had fun.

Anonymous said...

I know I'm just echoing here, but what a great idea for an event! Kudos on taking part. As for the book Cloud Atlas, I've never heard of it, but I'll definitely look it up.

@parridhlantern said...

Hi pete, he's a great writer and worth looking up, as he has a wealth of books to explore.

Bellezza said...

True enough, America does have its share of lovely publishers.

Leeswammes (Judith) said...

Thanks for sharing. I love to read people's Book Night experiences. AS I'm in the Netherlands, I had to watch from a distance.

I very much enjoyed Cloud Atlas but I'm not sure it's a book I'd recommend just anyone to read. Surprised they didn't go with Black Swan Green, it's more accessible and less pages to print, too.

But for myself, I prefer Cloud Atlas! :-)

@parridhlantern said...

Hello Judith, I don't think accessibility was factored into the decision process, they even had poetry in the list, which although I personally love it (my 2nd choice book was Heaney) I think would have been a hard sell to the general public. Am in agreement with you about preferring Cloud AtlAS..

Em said...

A friend was supposed to give me a copy of Cloud Atlas, which I had never thought of reading before WBN, but it looks like she never received her books...
As for th "world" part of it, we can hope that these books will be travelling. I know tha one of mine went straight to France to be shared with a bookclub reading in English, I posted another to Canada and also brought one with me when I went to Spain.
Now, it would be nice to see where they actually end up in the next few months...